Small Engine Repair Certification and Diploma Programs

Diploma programs in small engine repair prepare students to maintain and repair engines found in lawn maintenance equipment, motorcycles and motorboats. Learn about these programs and discover certification and job opportunities available to graduates.

Essential Information

Small engine repair diploma programs require 1-2 years of study. The prerequisites are fairly simple, as students merely need a high school diploma or GED and must submit official transcripts. Although some courses take place in traditional classroom settings, most courses are hands-on and take place in shops, allowing students to learn using industry-standard equipment and tools.

These programs cover all aspects of small engines, including fuel, electric, transmission, cooling, ignition and lubrication systems. Students learn to assemble small engines, troubleshoot problems and repair various parts of 2-stroke and 4-stroke small engines. Some programs include courses that specifically prepare students for industry-specific certification exams, such as the Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC)'s Technician Certification Test, which results in certification as a Certified 4-Stroke Engine Technician.

Diploma Programs in Small Engine Repair

These programs allow students to focus on marine mechanics, lawnmowers, power equipment or recreational vehicles. The following are common courses a student may need to take:

  • Small engine mechanical equipment
  • Mechanical diagnosis and repair
  • Small engine parts and processes
  • Ignition, lubricating and cooling systems
  • Small engine electrical and fuel systems
  • Small engine rebuilding and maintenance

Employment Outlook and Career Information

With a small engine repair diploma, students can seek mechanical work with small engine repair shops, mechanical retail stores, equipment rental companies and other fields that utilize small engines. About 71,700 small engine mechanic jobs existed in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); almost one third of all small engine mechanics worked with motorcycle and boat dealers, while others were employed by retail lawn and garden stores and small engine maintenance shops (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, jobs for small engine mechanics are expected to grow by 4% from 2014 to 2024.

Certification Information

According to the BLS, certification is not required to work as a small engine mechanic; however, certification can demonstrate a potential employee's competence and result in higher pay. Relevant certifications are available from the EETC as well as specific manufacturers, such as Honda, Yamaha and Stihl. The EETC offers eight different certification exams, including those on two stroke engines, four stroke engines and compact diesel engines. Certification typically requires passing a written test. Individuals who pass six or more of the EETC certification exams are recognized as EETC-Certified Master Technicians.

Continuing Education Information

A small engine repair diploma is sufficient for most small engine mechanic positions. The best way to increase salary and career prospects is to gain hands-on experience with small engines. Many employers provide on-the-job training for specific small engines or brands, allowing small engine technicians to specialize in one area of mechanical work. Small engine mechanics often become self-employed or progress toward working with motor vehicles and larger engines, according to the BLS.

Prospective small engine mechanics can prepare for jobs in this field through a diploma program's hands-on coursework. Program graduates can also pursue voluntary certification from professional organizations and manufacturers.

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